Date of Conferral





Health Services


Jeanne Connors


Despite the ongoing investments in programs to increase sexual health awareness among young adults globally, many youths remain vulnerable to sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Two-thirds of all STDs occur among youths engaging in high-risk sexual behaviors, which put young adults at higher risk of STDs and can result in serious consequences including infertility. Additionally, the social consequences of STD affect families and communities. While a need exists for increased public awareness of STDs among young adults, extant intervention and prevention activities should be informed by a cultural perspective, including the integration of community and government roles. The purpose of this social ecological study was to investigate the perceptions of STDs and the potential factors responsible for the increased frequency of STDs based on the lived experiences of 20 young adults with STDs in Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria. Through a qualitative approach using a phenomenological research design, this study employed semi-structured interviews, and the resultant data were analyzed and coded. The findings indicated that college-aged students increasingly engaged in sexually risky behavior with multiple sexual partners for financial gain and power. Additionally, while institutions promoted abstinence as an effective strategy to reduce STD infections, the findings indicated a strong relationship between the phenomenon and individual interconnectedness with the larger society. Because the sexual behavior of young adults in Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria, is influenced at multiple ecological levels, effective and sustaining culturally appropriate STD interventions must involve the larger society including young adults in all stages of intervention development and implementation.